Magazine topic: 
Life around the world

Cultural discoveries in Italy

by : 
AngelaE-Olano

At the end of September this year I moved to Calabria (a region in southern Italy which forms the toe of the Italian Peninsula) to start working as an English language assistant in a local secondary school. Since then, I have been living in a town of 34,000 people called Vibo Valentia.

When I am not working I pack up my car to travel around, explore a bit of Italy and meet new people (Italians are ever so friendly). I have, so far, visited Tropea, Pizzo, Reggio Calabria, Lamezia Terme, Scilla, Naples, Pompeii and the Amalfi coast, Sorrento, Maiori, Minori, Amalfi, Praiano, Positano, Sorrento.

After living in Vibo Valentia for over a month and interacting with Italian daily, here is my first reflection of Italy. This is just a bit of fun, not meant to be taken too seriously.

  1. You'd better like pizza and pasta.

  2. In some Italian restaurants you won't find salt and pepper on the table.

  3. In England food is really expensive and not great. In Italy food is inexpensive and incredible.

  4. The coffee is amazing albeit small in size.

  5. In England the tea is amazing.

  6. Supermarkets in Calabria are big delis or are their delis just small supermarkets?

  7. In Italy you ask for a latte and you'll get a glass of milk.

  8. Ask for biscotti and they'll ask which ones, biscotti just means biscuits.

  9. Italian pastries are even better than French pastries. 

  10. In England, if there is an accident on the motorway we'll use cones to close off a lane. In Italy they use sticks of fire.

  11. In England people drive on the left-hand side of the road. Italians drive on whatever side they fancy.

  12. Men walk arm in arm, kiss on the cheeks and grab each other by the head.

  13. Grown-ups loiter outside shops like teenagers do in England.

  14. Italians love public displays of affection. In England public displays of affection are treated to a firing squad of disapproving looks and tuts.

  15. Brits don't really talk a lot, and only if you seem to understand them. Italians talk a lot even if you don’t understand them.​

  16. In Britain if you can't speak English you’re screwed! In Italy don’t worry if you can't speak Italian, you'll hardly ever get a word in edgeways.

  17. In Italy everyone greets you like you're their long-lost relative. In England everyone greets you like you’re their long-lost relative.

  18. Cool teenagers wear bum bags across their chest in Italy.

  19. In Italy there are often no toilet seats in public toilets, let alone toilet paper.

  20. In Italy beware of Yoga Risata classes; they will expect you to fake laughter for an hour!

Discussion

What do you think about Angela's light-hearted look at the difference between some aspects of life in Italy and the UK?